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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Dec, 2008 2:06 am    Post subject: Manufactoriums         Reply with quote

This question serves two purposes: One is to further my knowledge as a whole, and the other is to further assist me in creating a more realistic setting for a fantasy game I am working on.

Question goes as follows: Where are weapons and armour produced? I don't mean the obvious "in a forge", but in the larger sense of things. I know some countries got famous for their equipment quality, but where are the work centers located? Do villages and their metalworkers produce (and subsequently sell) materials for the creation of armor? Would the various villages create weapons and armor, then bring it to a city or town for sale?

My setting has a few smaller towns, and one small city, with several villages and the like. Of those sorts of population centers, which is more likely to produce items like spears, swords, maille, and shields? I never really thought about it until now, I guess.

M.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Dec, 2008 2:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The main amour making centres of Europe contained thousands of small workshops containing half a dozen craftsmen at most. Guild regulations prevented more than a handful of people in any one operation. Mail, for example, was likely produced as follows: Smelter sells iron to wire drawers. Smelter sells iron to platers. Wire drawers make wire and sell to link makers. Platers sell plate (made with water powered trip hammers) to link makers. Link makers make links from wire and sell to mailleurs. Link makers punch solid links out of plate and sell to mailleurs. Alternatively - apprentice mailleurs make mail "fabric" for the armourer in the same shop; OR mailleurs make mail fabric and sell to armourer in another shop. Armourer tailors mail fabric into armour for client.
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Sat 27 Dec, 2008 11:14 am    Post subject: Re: Manufactoriums         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
This question serves two purposes: One is to further my knowledge as a whole, and the other is to further assist me in creating a more realistic setting for a fantasy game I am working on.

Question goes as follows: Where are weapons and armour produced? I don't mean the obvious "in a forge", but in the larger sense of things. I know some countries got famous for their equipment quality, but where are the work centers located? Do villages and their metalworkers produce (and subsequently sell) materials for the creation of armor? Would the various villages create weapons and armor, then bring it to a city or town for sale?

My setting has a few smaller towns, and one small city, with several villages and the like. Of those sorts of population centers, which is more likely to produce items like spears, swords, maille, and shields? I never really thought about it until now, I guess.

M.

If your setting is mostly an early-medieval style, village-based economy then there may not be as much specialization as Dan describes from a later period. Almost all the work will be done by hand, although by the 13th/14th centuries a lot of water-powered equipment was in use. I don't know much about early medieval arms and armour production, but it will probably be individual smiths and maybe towns which have a reputation for quality.

In late medieval Europe, towns in northern Italy and the southern Germanies were the main centers of armour production, although Flanders was also notable and a lot of cheap armour was produced in every country. A major armouring center needed to be located close to a source of ore, a source of waterpower, and a source of fuel.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Dec, 2008 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Setting-wise, think Pre-Norman Anglo-Saxon England.

M.

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Dec, 2008 4:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pre-Norman England? Just go to Regia Anglorum's article collection:

http://www.regia.org/listings.htm

If I remember correctly, they have good articles about ironworking as well as armor and weapon production in Anglo-Saxon England and some contemporary cultures.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Dec, 2008 9:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks; somehow my googling didn't turn that site up.

M.

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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Dec, 2008 5:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By the way, do we have figures on how much ore a bloomery produced in the middle ages, as an average? I was reading an article on fake Ublfert swords and got to thinking how much iron you could take from a bog, and how much iron would have been around in general.

M.

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Dec, 2008 10:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
By the way, do we have figures on how much ore a bloomery produced in the middle ages, as an average?


You can find academic articles in which excavated slag heaps have been used to estimate the lbs or kgs of iron ore likely to have been smelted in a single batch. (This gets confusing since you can theoretically just keep fueling and feeding a blast furnace. i.e. a nearly continuous process until necessary to clean out the debris. Excavators have to estimate or segregate chunks considered to be from separate melts.) I think it is generally assumed that a few kg of usable bloomery was smelted at a time in the unpowered/ manually operated facilities of 11th-13th century era. It is important to remember that there are well over a hundred of these smaller furnaces known as surviving archeological sites (probably many more in the actual period), that probably churned out materials several days per week. Mass production (blast furnaces and powered approaches) begins to take off around 14th century. About 1000 tonnes is estimated as an annual production for all of England around 1300 (per . Miller and Hatcher , Towns, Commerce and Crafts, p.62, quoting Pollard and Crossley, The Wealth of England 1085-1966. ) A good article can be found as "Exmoor Iron: a historical perspective."

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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